SAN FRANCISCO—After a booming 2010, NOR flash memory revenue is expected to decline by nearly 6 percent to $4.8 billion in 2011, signaling the beginning of difficult years ahead marked by declining prices, according to market research firm IHS iSuppli.
While shipments will keeping rising as NOR finds its way into more applications, average selling prices (ASPs) are weakening as a whole, according to IHS. The firm projects NOR revenue to continue to decline in the years ahead, slipped to $4.2 billion in 2014.
"In recent years, NOR has been steadily losing its share of the memory market to a rival flash technology, NAND, which costs less and has much higher memory capacity especially suitable for today’s smart phones," said Michael Yang, senior analyst for memory and storage at IHS. "The robust results of NOR last year came when manufacturers cut back supply after demand for the product recovered."
NOR revenue soared nearly 11 percent to $5.1 billion in 2010, the best performance by NOR since 2004, according to IHS.
The first half of last year was particularly strong for NOR, IHS said, with optimism that recovering PC shipments would carry NOR revenue higher. But optimism for the PC market evaporated, with shipment growth of 6.4 percent in the fourth quarter falling short of the seasonal double-digit percentages that were expected, IHS said, resulting in supply catching up with demand and weakening ASPs.
Potential PC shoppers also last year started buying media tablets instead— a big threat to NOR because of the fewer chips they require— further shaking the NOR industry, HIS said.
On Tuesday (Feb. 22), Jim Handy, an analyst with Objective Analysis, said his firm expects NAND ASPs to collapse in the fourth quarter of this year.